Lurching from one travesty to the next — the ogre effect of it hanging around

NOTES FOR PUBLIC HEARING ON LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES OF FREDERICK COUNTY DELEGATION TO ANNAPOLIS  On the downtown hotel, please kill this crock of a project, put it out of its misery. It is never going to be built. This thing has been hanging around for seven years now since the hotel was specified and the first feasibility study was commissioned.

It lurches slowly and painfully from one travesty to another.

Travesty #1 was the specification for the hotel 200 rooms, 25ksf conference center, full service – a wishlist of a bunch of amateurs from the chamber of commerce, City DOD.

Travesty #2 was site selection – selection of a site based on a theory of development catalytics that has produced an unsuitable site for the building specified… now acknowledged by negotiations to buy the Eagles property next door.

Travesty #3 was the sham competed procurement under which the developer was selected, Plamondon’s proposal being submitted, dissected, discussed internally at the same time that the RFP terms were being written.

Travesty #4 was the scoring of the two proposals, ridiculously biased to Plamondon and the FNP site when an objective scoring would have selected Wormald and the Galleria site

Travesty #5 has been the absurd boosterish propaganda about the spending, jobs and taxes this will generate.

Travesty #6 has been the long tortuous search for ‘partners’ culminating in two state agencies declining to participate, the inability to find anyone who wants to ‘own’ the public side of the project.

Travesty #7 has been the cost which has gone in three or four years from $45m to $84m, almost doubled, and the taxpayer share from $11m to $31m, almost trebled.

Travesty #8 is the waste involved. What do we get for the $84m? What is it worth? MuniCap in an unpublished report for the City looked at comparable establishments. They projected likely cash flows, discounted them to present value: $29m. We propose to spend $84m to build a facility worth $29m. This is scandalously wasteful.

Travesty #9 is the incompatibility of this huge Walmart-sized big box on East Patrick St with the historic district and the “need” to demolish the Birely Tannery building.

Travesty #10 is the ogre effect of this project. For seven years and more it has been scaring off self-financing investments in lodging that would fit the downtown – 30, 40, 70 room hotels. Let us get on with entrepreneurial interesting right sized hotels downtown, making use of 2 and 3 story vacant blighted buildings and ugly surface parking lots. 2016.12.03

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